Movement!

Yesterday was long, tiring, and good on many levels.  The rough draft of the next “A Different View” book is completed and now being edited, reviewed, and hopefully having the guest parts written.  Yesterday saw some opportunities for Mission: VALOR and myself identified, and now to seize them.  If you care to help, please hit gofundme or paypal in the tip jar; and, go make a donation to Mission: VALOR right now.  Some incredible opportunities, if we can travel and make the most of them.

Secrets

I’ve written about this before, but am pretty sure that was one of the hundreds of discussions taken out by the crackers that took out the old site.  So, time to do this again given a moving video going around and my sharing it on Facebook.

I tend to think of it happening to me when I was younger, but part of that I suspect comes from parts of my mind that really just don’t want to deal with this.  I may have indicated I was around 12 when an adult male I trusted tried to rape me, but the summer of my 12th birthday I was in Italy and having a wonderful time that opened up the world to me in ways I could never have imagined.  It had to have been when I was about 15 or 16, and not earlier.  I still can’t bring myself to peg it down exactly.

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The Song Remains The Same

Dip.

Labor Day Book Sale

Like books?  Like books in science fiction/fantasy, non-fiction, anthologies, and more?  Well, if you do and like e-books, you are in for a treat with a wide range of works available for $2.99 or less.  Check them out! 

Food For Thought: The Logic of Illogic

A group of writers (and avid readers) I belong to have been discussing some of the issues that plague modern literature, specifically modern science fiction. That said, much of what we see there applies to modern “literature” of any stripe.

To provide some food for thought this day, please go check out this excellent essay on the logic of illogic and think a bit about the points it raises.

Robin Williams, Our Troops, and an Appeal

Over at Mission: VALOR (and on Facebook), Jenna Wilkins Perminas (the new and amazing social media manager for Mission: VALOR), hits it out of the park with a bloody marvelous post on depression, suicide, and an appeal to troops and veterans.  Check it out.

“Craft” Distilling

It appears that a lot of people who are into bourbon are now upset to learn that a lot of “craft” distillers don’t do their own distilling.  That, in point of fact, the “craft” spirit they love may come from carefully selected mixes of spirits produced and/or aged elsewhere.

An article at The Daily Beast was the cold slap of reality for them, and it has led to a lot of angst and discussions of what “is” is, or rather what is craft and what is horrible-big-batch-chain-megaconglomerate-otherbadwordthing.  Artisan, craft, crafty…  Well, call it what you will (and this article makes some very good points).

For me, lost in the angst and the latest “in” bourbon (or some other spirits for that matter) is process.  I know that my current favorite producer of bourbon has just started to distill on premises again — which means the product I love did not start life there.  Yet, I personally still consider it to be an honest product.

Why?  Simple.  It starts with the fact that they don’t hide it.  They may not advertise it, but they don’t try to mislead you.  Following-up on that is the fact that they are building on the recipes and traditions that began decades ago in the family and were interrupted by a rather poor business decision (IMO) and a sale.  Now that the family has bought things back, they are building on the previous traditions and refining.

Think about what goes into providing the flavors in any good spirit.  It starts with the mix of grains/ingredients.  Some families and businesses have developed recipes over the years and stick with them for good reasons.  That’s where a lot of flavor comes from, and by playing with small changes in proportion you can make some rather interesting (and potentially significant) changes in flavor.  Changing the type/variety of wheat/corn/rye makes a difference, which is why good distillers take care to ensure continued sourcing of preferred varieties of each.

Good stills do make a difference, pot or column, but where those stills are located does not make a significant difference.  It may be next door, or it may be a few hundred miles away.  On-site or next door are much easier to deal with from a logistics standpoint, but…

Next is the wood for the barrels, and if charred how charred.  Again, there has been a lot of trial and error over the years and those who have been doing it a while have their preferences.  New companies have a good idea (often) of what they want, but if smart they are likely going to play around with that at least a little bit.

Finally, where it is stored makes a difference.  A range of temperatures and humidity do make a difference.  My current favorite may not have been distilled on site, but guess where the aging warehouses are?  Again, for each type of spirit there is a good bit of data on the climate needed, as the conditions of aging are important.

To me, what makes a truly great spirit are the flavors that come from the differences in the production and aging, while the spirit remains within the larger brand taste.  It’s why I like single-barrel single malts a lot, and accept that in many respects each bottle I buy is going to be different.  Accept heck, I look forward to it.  It’s also why I’ve quietly snickered at some of the hot-brand-of-the-month bourbon and rye whisky out there (and most especially at their fanboys).

Folks, if that very expensive bottle of aged “craft” bourbon or rye comes from a company that’s only been around a couple of years, the odds of it being produced and aged elsewhere is, oh, about 100 percent.  They may have a true genius blending things for a great taste and consistent taste over time and from a large source of stock.  They may have a wonderful product through chemistry.  However, if you think it comes from people who have devoted years or decades to learning the craft and carefully producing a product from start to well-aged finish, well, I have a bridge for you.

Find what tastes good to you.  Explore.  Enjoy.  Learn a bit about the process and what goes into making that spirit.  My “everyday” bourbon and favorite “small batch” bourbon are technically both mass produced.  My current favorite high-end bourbon and rye come from a place that just started distilling on-site again fairly recently (at least by bourbon standards).   For me, the devil — and the pleasure — are in the details, and the details are not exact sameness bottle-to-bottle.  Consistent, yes.  Exactly the same and rigidly checked by chemical analysis, no.

If you have to have a spirit from master distillers/craftsmen who have studied and worked for years/decades and only do small batches that are distilled, aged, and mixed to taste on site, good for you.  There are a few out there.  Just be prepared to pay a truly premium price and accept scarcity of supply.

Contest Winner To Be Killed!

And the runner up maimed!  Oh my, the humanity!!

Yes, it is true.  The winner of the Mission: VALOR art contest will die three times (and enjoy it no less), and the runner-up will be maimed.  Thanks to Sarah A. Hoyt, Tom Kratman, Michael Z. Williamson, Le Creuset, MilitaryLuggage.com, Battlemug.com, and Doctrine Man for the initial prizes to go to the respective estates.  Oh, and not only is Nick Searcy a judge for the contest, he’s now on the National Advisory Board for Mission: VALOR.  Thanks also to judges John Sheppard, Greg Browning, and Erin Ingram, who stand ready to join with Nick and give the death penalty multiple times.

 

It’s My Birthday

Yes, it is indeed my birthday, and if you want to do something for me, go make a donation to Mission: VALOR.  Thank you

A Random Act Of Beauty

Mission: VALOR has been taking almost every moment of my time recently, especially as we are completing start-up and moving into stand-up phase.  So, Saturday I took a small bit of time for me and went down early to the Mosey Down Mainstreet in Lafayette, IN.  Here are the first images that I present as a senseless act of random beauty (or cruelty, depending on your opinion of my photography).

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